Nepali Congress (NC) lawmaker, Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat, expressed reservation over the budget citing absence of priorities and added it was inclined to increase inflation and cause pain than relief to the people.
More than 40 per cent of the revenue is dependent on import, Mahat said, adding that the talk of increasing the revenue was laughable. He said the budget would gradually stoke foreign dependency and inhibit the government’s attempt to provide social allowances.
Dr Mahat referred to the expenditure of Rs 25 billion in importing rice grains in the current fiscal year, and claimed the pledge to make the country self-dependent on paddy production was fully wrong.
Commenting on the budget, CPN (UML) lawmaker, Gokarna Bista, claimed the budget presented by the government for the upcoming fiscal year as practical and influential although some may not like it.
The budget was presented by embracing the ground realities and it presents big and important projects, Bista asserted, terming the revenue mobilization as estimable and reasonable. He added that the budget focused on social security and laid emphasis on reconstruction in quake-stricken districts. He warned of not to publicize the budget in a fabricated manner.
The lawmaker also said that advancing the reconstruction and some important projects in time would help in realizing the government’s goal of estimated economic growth rate. The grant promised in agriculture and irrigation and importance given to the social sector would benefit the common citizens, he opined.
Bista said that focus on energy sector, infrastructure development, Kathmandu-Tarai Madhes fast track and north-south corridor instilled hopes among the people.
Janardhan Sharma from CPN Maoist Centre complained the budget which is positive in its structure did not talk of relief to those injured in the armed insurgency and people’s uprising.
He expressed concern over the paucity of expenditure mechanism, programmes for reducing trade deficit and absence of pension to the farmers. The budget should have evoked the sentiments of the new constitution which has not happened, Sharma said. He expressed reservation over the failure to engage the people of the Karnali and far western region.
He underlined the state’s view as being centre and leader-oriented, and argued the budget meted out injustice to the backward regions by centralizing the budget in Jhapa and Rupendehi. He called for correcting the ‘unbalanced budget’.
The Karnali Commission has been made a unit of the National Planning Commission and therefore cheated, Sharma shared. He drew the attention towards balancing such discriminatory arrangement.
On the occasion, RPP Nepal’s Vaskar Bhadra called for result-based implementation of the budget as it has given special stress on infrastructure and agriculture. He said it was crucial that agro sector is diversified and modernized.
Madhesi Janadhikar Forum Nepal (Democratic) lawmaker, Subodh Kumar Pokharel, commended the government for prioritizing the Budhi Gandaki Hydro Power Project. The government has borne social responsibility by increasing the social security allowance for elderly people and single women among others, he said.
RPP’s Sunil Thapa spoke of the continuity of the government’s incapacity to spend and appealed for presenting a base to control the likelihood of inflation. The budget poses financial risks in country’s economy, Thapa pointed out drawing the government’s attention on need to focus on galvanizing economic resources for the distributive budget. Parliamentary discussion continues. RSS